Hell in a Hand Basket

To the casual news observer, it would seem that everything - from our small hometowns, to our cherished cities, to our beloved states, to our entire country - is heading to hell.  In a hand basket.  Every day the news tops yesterday's on every sensational scale - bizarre, horrific, sad, demented, unconscionable.

Whether the issue de jour is a presidential candidate giving out the personal cell phone number of another candidate to the entire country, the sale of "fetal tissue", flags (confederate or half-mast), gay marriage, poverty, immigration, gun rights, I am certain you feel passionately, as I do, one way or another.  The entire country is at odds, about every little and big thing you can think of.

Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2015/07/21/3853306_bibb-county-ranks-near-bottom.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

No wonder the world seems hopeless.

And yet....

As a Christian, I hear the overwhelming cry of "Come, Lord Jesus."  How much longer can the world go on like this - we wonder.  We pray that Jesus will come and sweep us away from the despair and hopelessness.  We think this is too big a mess to make it through.

What kind of faith is that?

I'm not saying that these are the best of times.  That would be ludicrous.  Times are difficult and sad and downright scary.  But, these things are not new.  If you study history, you will see that cannibalism, slavery, child-selling, infanticide, cruel and unusual punishments, human sacrifice,  witch hunts, sexual depravity - these things are not new. In fact, I'm certain I've heard that somewhere before -
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 1:9
While we're down here on earth scratching our heads and shaking our fists, God is up there going, "Yup, saw that coming."  I don't think he's surprised.  I don't think he's happy either, but I know he's not surprised. 


We sit here saying, "This is rough.  I'd rather just call it a day...forever...and have Jesus return right now."  You know why we want that?  Because it's easier.  It's easier than doing the hard things, saying the difficult things, and being the people we are called to be - Christ's ambassadors.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  2 Corinthians 5:20
It's a lot easier to say, "Nope, too far gone.  Hopeless.  We can't do this anymore."  Guess what?  We never could do it.  Alone, we are powerless.  With God?  Unstoppable. We don't have the luxury of quitting while we still have breath.  I don't know if these are the "end times" or not, but the urgency is there, regardless. 

"But what can I do?"

I'm so glad you asked.  I don't really know either.  But here are a few ideas:

1.  Pray.  Hard.  Ask God to reveal to you ways that you can help out.  Ask God to give you courage to be bold.  Ask God to fill you with a desire to know His Word and His Will so you can "always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." 

2.  Forget what you know "about" a person and get to know the actual person.  Just love people.  Get to know them.  Smile.  Make conversation.  Treat them to a coffee.  Hold the door on the elevator.  Let them in front of you in line.  Forgive them.  Don't make assumptions.  Don't judge by appearances.  Be available as an ear.  Put others first.  Can you even imagine what a different world this would be if we treated each others as individuals with unique experiences, thoughts, and feelings instead of a part of a collective evil?  It doesn't have to be like that.

3.  Admit that you don't know everything.  This might be harder for some of us than others, but really, it's okay to not know.  It's not okay to keep not knowing.  Go learn something.  Get educated.  Dig into the Word.

4.  Be sensitive.  Because people are, in fact, people, they are built uniquely and beautifully with a set of experiences and feelings only they have.  We cannot know what it is like to walk in anyone's shoes, but we can try.  We can talk.  Just...be nice.

5.  Do something.  Do anything.  When we feel ill-equipped and scared, God can use us the most. 
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9
At the end of ourselves, we find all of Jesus.  That's a great place to start.

I truly believe apathy is Satan's weapon of choice in our generation.  With a flippant "whatever" we, even as Christians, have thrown in the towel.  What kind of a witness is this to nonbelievers?  We don't trust that God can overcome our present circumstances?  We just quit? 

No.  This is not acceptable.  We have serious work to do, if not to make the world a better place, to tell the world about Jesus.  Let's live so that others can see Jesus in us.  When Jesus comes, I'll be ready, but I don't want that day or hour or minute to come before we've had a chance to do what he called us to do.  We have a message to deliver on his behalf.  Let us believe that...
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8
Because we are all sinners.  And we all need a Savior.  And with God, nothing is impossible.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 
Please, do something.


Sharon said...

Yes, the world is going crazy. But, I have to tell you, I expect nothing less. At some point in time, the world is going to move towards the events we are told about in the book of Revelation. I don't presume to know when Jesus will return for us, but we must live our lives ready. For me this means keeping our feet on the ground - being proactive for the cause of Christ - while keeping our eyes on the sky.

Never before has courage in the ranks of the Body of Christ been needed like it is these days. May God make us brave.


(Love the updated sidebar!!)

Debbie said...

True confession: My first priority in peeking into Blogland this morning was to see your littlest (for now) Shep celebrated on the sideboard.

Reading this post is kind of like going for coffee and ending up with a doughnut to go with it, a delicious custard filled doughnut with chocolate glaze and maybe some nuts on top of the glaze.

Well done, and I agree so much. I especially agree about the apathy. It isn't just your generation of this generation either. It is the whole lot of us, from the most senior of senior citizens right down through the generational line.

Excellent post and excellent push in rump.

And oh. my. goodness to the faces on the sidebar!! What if I told you that Noah looks the most like you to me?

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